I'm finally sitting down three months later and 400+ hours in to talk about Monster Hunter. I've talked about smaller aspects of my enjoying it but I have yet to really sit down and really talk shop on Monster Hunter, like one would do in an extended view. But I've finally slightly burned myself out after a run of failures and figured I could take this chance to finally talk about the game properly.
For me, I had no idea what Monster Hunter was until I got into it. But after playing it, I realize it is a Capcom game through and through. It can be very hard and unforgiving in the mechanics and how it controls. You're not just going to wail away on monsters and expect to come out on top that way. Whether you're hunting alone or in a full group, there will be times where taking an offensive stance on the monster simply is not a good idea. I've run for fear of my life anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes trying to gauge a good attack angle. Even if I'm not being specifically targeted by the monster, keeping pace with huge beasts that stride as far as a short jog for you can be a challenge.
The thing I've learned about Monster Hunter over the first month is that it gives back in enjoyment what you put in with interest, but it asks for fucking huge deposit. People consider G-rank the real game while low and high rank are considered tutorials by the hardcore hunters. Keep in mind low and high rank quests can span anywhere between 50 to 100 hours for the average gamer. But each tier is truly different in magnitudes of difficulty and preparation. The equipment available to you at low rank will quickly get outpaced by the damage in high rank, and again this will happen when you hit G-rank. Not only that but monsters that appear multiple times through the ranks will slowly get tougher not just i terms of health pool but also in move pools and even aggression and AI. A high rank Brachydios seems plenty aggressive enough, throwing exploding punches and making daring leaps to crush you. But At G-rank he gets tougher, such as doing certain attacks twice in succession (the flame pillar in particular) and Brachydios will even bum rush a targeted hunter for a pummeling. These additions in difficulty are before mentioned how much more damage they pump out.
Enjoying these hunts happens in three stages for me. The first stage is surprise and bewilderment as I hunt a monster for the first time. I'm cautious of what the monster is capable of and I take less risks. If I don't know for absolute sure that the monster is vulnerable, I'd rather watch from a safe distance until I've learned when the safe periods are before I encounter something new like a new attack or the rage mechanic kicking in. The second stage is the seasoned reaction, where I'm more familiar with patterns and make an effort to deliver more damage and take more risks. For Zinogre, I've learned that it's relatively safe to attack his hind legs, even if he's at a neutral position where what he does next is unpredictable. Even when Zinogre decides to lash out, my position allows me a degree of safety that I continue to attack from. Lastly is the expert stage, where I've become so familiar that I can take educated guesses about what to do in an effort to maximize damage and cut down on hunt times, even if it means some extra damage hear or there. Now with Brachydios, I'm try to take aggressive potshots whenever I can because I know I can flinch him if I'm good enough about dishing out damage.
So far I've felt very stream of conscious about putting my feelings down about Monster Hunter. I can't help it considering I've been playing the game for 3 months with such vigor. I think the only way I can organize my thoughts from here on out is just figure out a way to gush about the game. And the only way I want to gush right now is to talk about my favorite things in MonHun.
My top 5 monsters, according to personal criteria from challenge of the hunt, design of the monster, and the aesthetic of the weapons and armor they make.
5) Zamtrios: this thing is categorized as an amphibian, believe it or not. But Zamtrios and his variant, the Tigerstripe, have very dynamic fights, mostly because they have multiple forms they shift in between. The base form can flash freeze an icy armor over it's skin, then puff up into a hilarious wrecking blob, as well as dive into the ice and cruise along. The Tigerstripe can't freeze armor over its skin but is much more aggressive with it's blob form by inflating itself rapidly and trying to leap, crush, and roll over you with frightening speed. Zamtrios is susceptible to sonic bombs and has plenty of openings to exploit but despite that, Zamtrios can screw with your plans by bringing out the ice beam, whether Zamtrios sweeps it out in front of itself or spins on the ground and sprays it everywhere.
Zamtrios weapons tend to focus on creating very sharp, jaw-like designs out of a clear, ice-like substance with high raw, mediocre sharpness, and ice damage.
4) Seregios: the flagship monster specifically for 4 Ultimate is an exciting and unpredictable duel. One of its quests is very apt being named Death by a Thousand Cuts because that's precisely what makes Seregios challenging but not overly difficult. Seregios preys off of lazy hunters who don't pay attention and don't dodge roll with a debilitating bleed status that drains health any time you perform any laborious actions like rolling and attacking. Getting nicked by Seregios' flying razor scales once isn't a problem so long as you stay on your toes and roll away before they explode into hundreds of cutting shrapnel.
Seregios' weapons embody its evasive and aggressive nature perfectly. They have high raw and incredible natural sharpness and come with unique gimmicks to incentivize hunters to move around. Blademaster weapons restore sharpness every time you roll, which is good because the weapons are razor sharp but dull quickly. Even gunner weapons like the light bowgun auto-reload ammunition when you roll.
3) Brachydios: The explosive brute wyvern simply embodies so many quirky designs that are atypical when you use the word wyvern, which is a word most often associated with smaller, lesser dragons. Sure, he's technically a brute wyvern, but this thing is built like a cross between Street Fighter's Balrog and a dinosaur. Even without his explosively unstable slime, Brachydios is a dinosaur with stone boxing gloves for hands and a pompadour built to crush houses. Not only that, Brachydios is not the least bit slow or sluggish. Brachy will charge at you without a care for the world so long as it gets to punch you in the head. Raging Brachydios, as the name impies, is a variant that's simply always pissed off. And when Brachydios is pissed, things explode faster.
The Dios weapons tend to be the most balanced of the possible blast focused weapons you can craft, which is appealing for people looking to take the Dios weapons into a variety of situations. Teostra weapons have lower raw, higher blast and Molten Tigrex weapons have high raw but require their blast to be Awakened. Plus you have to admit, Lightbreak is a cool naming convention for your exploding weapons: Lightbreak Edge, Lightbreak Twins, Lightbreak Press.
2) Kirin: Everybody loves unicorns at some level. Turning a unicorn into a badass creature can be a little problematic with the unicorn's years of typecasting as a fluffy, seldom seen whimsy. Kirin holds the title as the smallest elder dragon in the series though, holding a title that's also held be the likes of a weather bending dragon and a pair of beasts known as the Black God and White God respectively.
Kirin may look like a unicorn from far away but it looks mean up close. It isn't afraid to remind you that having a horn means it can gore you. Kirins have complete elemental control over lightning and have some of the toughest hides in the game. The hairs on its hide are so tightly packed that they deflect pretty much anything from the head down. Oroshi Kirin, the subspecies, has the epic flavor text of hinting at their elusive presence by snap freezing the moisture in the air when nearby. Son congratulations on freezing to death, you've probably come close to an Oroshi Kirin!
Kirin weapons are unbelievably sharp. Their low raw is deceptive due since most of their weapons can reach purple sharpness without any help. But offsetting that low raw is great elemental damage. The faster the weapon, the better suited Kirin parts are for it and its elemental damage.
1) Teostra: There a many more monsters I'd love to recommend to the annals of hunting history. Nerscylla, Zinogre, Yian Garuga, and Ukanlos are all monsters I love to hunt and provide cool weapons. But Teostra has to edge them out for it's razor sharp margin for error. Teostra has some deep patterns that are easy to read and easy to exploit for damage. However, Teostra is also capable of some of the most destructive burst damage attacks in the game. Teostra doesn't just make explosions like Brachydios. He threatens you with an impending super nova if you don't get out of its way. Teostra's super nova is well known among hunters. After being enraged, you have 100 seconds before Teostra flies into the air and delivers and all-encompassing explosion that is all but likely to send your sorry ass back to base camp. Even before the super nova, G-ranked Teostra will spontaneously generate instances of explosions at specific points that will put the fear of our Lord in you. I've done many panic dives to get away from these explosions, in true action hero fashion.
Teostra weapons are also very regal, very red, and very gold. Truly weapons fit for a king. Their sharpness tends to suffer and their raw isn't so great either but this is because Teostra weapons focus on creating explosions from blastblight all the fucking time. Teostra's Emblem, a sword and shield, is legendary for its ability to generate explosions throughout the duration of a hunt, well into a a time when a monster's resistance threshold for blastblight has increased beyond most weapons.
Honorable mention to Chaotic Gore Magala: For some reason, the interstitial form between Gore and Shagaru Magala is way more intimidating. This thing is an abomination and not only does it look like an unpredictable mess but it fights like one too. It shares a of patterns with Gore Magala with the exception of being REALLY FUCKING STRONG. That's why I always describe my hunts with Chaotic Magala as knock down, drag out brawls. With the right weapon, you can shred Chaos Magala like paper. But Chaos Magala will also deliver unbelievable pain with its own brute force like a claw crush, ground smash, and virus wave projectiles. For every ounce of blood you draw, this thing will draw just as much from you.
Chaos weapons have ultra specific gimmicks dealing with the frenzy virus. They have both negative and positive affinity, wildly changing your damage output in a fight. But getting infected by the frenzy and purging it for its benefits adds the negative affinity to your positive value, making certain weapons reach an incredible 60 or 70% affinity before other boosts. That means doing 25% more damage much more frequently.
So I'm finally sitting down and gushing about Monster Hunter. It's just a super rewarding game with tough fights that don't improve you necessarily by increasing your agility stat or strength stat, but by forcing you to learn monster attacks and applying DPS efficiently. Maybe next time, I'll gush more on some of my favorite weapons, which run the gamut of jagged fangs to smooth, shiny edges. Until next time though, happy hunting.